So right about now there are literally thousands of Sydney-siders singing along to George Michael on his LIVE 25 tour and I am jealous as hell. He is still amazing to watch – 22 years later.
I first saw George live at age 14. It was February (same month) 1988. I had just started year 10 at school and a girl by the name of Jenny had just moved to Perth to live from NZ. She sat next to me in class and I asked her who she was sitting with at lunch. Since she told me she didn’t really know anyone yet, I offered up my little piece of the grass quadrangle which I shared with my friends. A very special piece of grass that nobody dared to sit upon unless invited…. She quickly made friends with my friends, and was able to avoid the whole “I’m new to this country and a big loser with no friends” stigma. (Gee teenage girls can be horrid).
What does this have to do with George Michael’s FAITH tour??? I SO wanted to go… but knew the likelihood of either of my parents coughing up the dough to go watch some ‘lewd man’ sing about wanting sex was out of the question. And it ached when I heard ads on the radio about his tickets going on sale… enough for me to tell my new bestie Jenny all about it. So one day after school she rang me squeeling that her dad had bought us tickets…. US? Who is us? “You and me” she exclaimed. (See…. it pays to be nice!! Gee do you think I gave myself major props back then?) Her dad had kindly paid for tickets for Jenny and her new best friend (me) to go and see George and had conveniently purchsed some of the best seats available at the Entertainment Centre in Perth.
I still remember the night… the room went dark and we all screamed. Suddenly, we heard a beat – that synthesised beat that could only mean one thing…. one of my favourite songs…. HARD DAY. Then you heard his voice… “Don’t bring me down” (screaming) “Don’t bring me down down down down down down my babay” And there he was – in a cage, descending like the post-Wham God that he was wearing ripped jeans (groan) a singlet tank top with braces, and a fedora style hat. (more screaming – louder now….)
And so the screaming continued for a few more songs…. then the singlet came off, the hat got thrown with gay abandon (pardon the pun) to some lucky bitch in the second row, and another unmistakable synthesised beat began…. If I could spell it I would… but you all know it – the one that starts off “I Want Your Sex.” And somewhere in the first few minutes at the tender age of 14, I had a real AHA moment. (NO not AHA as in Morten Harkett from Aha that sang Take On Me – although he was up there in the boys I drooled over stakes)… no I’m talking when you have a kind of epiphany. Mine was this: I’m really here, standing only meters away from perhaps the man I love most in the world, and he is here singing for me, and I love him, and he is so good looking, and at this moment, I just have to take all that in and stop screaming with all these girls for a while…… And then IT HAPPENED…. I SWEAR he must’ve noticed me not moving…. I mean I was surrounded by girls jumping and screaming, and here’s this cute girl (ha ha, me) standing with her hands on her cheeks. Not. Moving. He was at the slow bit of the song… “I’m not your father, I’m not your brother, Oh will you ever change your mind…. I’m a gentle lover, with a heart of gold, baby you been so unkind… (cue sliding across the stage on knees – look at girl not moving, do come on gesture) “come on” (point at girl not moving) “I want your sex”
I fell off my chair screaming, and I became The Girl Whose Sex George Michael Wanted…. The rest of the night was a blur.
Twenty two years later, the good seats (I’m guessing) cost alot more…. so seeing George live last Saturday in Perth – I was naturally extremely jealous of those in the $400 seats who were lucky enough to make eye contact with him the way I had once. And being there was was like listening to the soundtrack of my teens and twenties… Yes I discovered years later he was gay, then into pot big time, then perhaps a bit of a perve… SO? He was/is still an ultra talented singer/songwriter with an incredible voice with moves that still make me groan (a bit).
Okay – so another idol of the 80’s is touring as well. Whitney Houston. And she (cough cough) still can really (splutter cough) belt out a tune…. Hmmmm, Somebody bring me some water – Oh no, that’s Melissa Etheridge and she DOES still belt them out. I once met Whitney Houston when I worked in radio and I thought then she was a filthy woman with a terrible potty mouth and I wanted to scrub her face with a kitchen scourer it was so dirty looking.
I’m wondering what the difference is between pot smoking and popping e’s which George has blatantly confessed to… and smoking crack which is – as we all know – whack according to Whitney. Has anyone done a thesis on “How different drugs taken in the 90’s affect our pop stars of old and thier ability to sing well?” I can wholeheartedly say that George will be right at home with all the 20 something homos in Sydney tomorrow at the mardi gras… but Whitney’s day in the sun has ended and she will always remain a bitter sweet memory, that’s all I’m taking with me, and I wish for her joy and happiness.. ok enough! But I still wonder why her voice is shot while George still sings clean and pure.
Flash forward 4 years: At age 18 I met a guy called Frank outside a cafe. He was Sicilian and in my 18 year old opinion, a hot spunk. He was wearing a BSA belt. I was wearing a BSA ring. If you don’t understand the reference to BSA, then you should check out George in his Faith years – or here’s a reminder…
So there we are amazed that we both loved George so much that we would copy his decision to wear 3 little letters on ourselves, and it turned out being the start of a very toxic and dramatic 8 year (on and off) relationship.
Frank or Franco as he now goes by, is as far as I know – living in Sydney (he moved there to be with me when I was there, but I have since moved back, and forth, and sideways). I can almost certainly guarantee that he is there tonight. Funnnily enough the first film we saw together was The Bodyguard and the main male character’s name was Frank Farmer. Frank. So we both loved the film and soundtrack. And I wonder… will he be thinking of me as much as I thought of him last Saturday. If he was at Whitney… Did he remember that it’s all we listened to for a year? Not remember in a sad I want you again way. But in a nice – Ahh, remember the good times kind of way….
I suppose I’ll never know.